I. Fantasia 6:15
II. Gentle, Rocking 4:00
III. One Step at a Time 5:00
My Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra was completed in 2011 and is dedicated to Diane Maltester, who is among the most wonderful musicians I’ve ever known. It was premiered in 2012 by the Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra under the direction of David Ramadanoff. As in most concertos there is a fluid dynamic between a leader (the clarinet) and a sometimes agreeable, sometimes unruly congregation (the orchestra). As the first movement opens the clarinet introduces a playful theme and is gradually joined by the orchestra. Holding to the unpredictability of a fantasia, the character fluctuates this way and that – gritty and resolute, mysterious, intense. The Fantasia finally lands in a gentle mood that goes on to blossom and inform the entire second movement. The third movement begins with a decisive, steady beat that reminds me of a vigorous walk, hence its title “One Step at a Time.” That stepping turns into floating in a section marked “Ecstatic.” A few more emotional twists take us to the work’s final, energetic presto. Since I don’t play the clarinet I am grateful to Diane Maltester for her many suggestions that make the concerto lay more naturally on the instrument. I also thank Maestro David Ramadanoff for his insightful suggestions as the work was nearing completion.
Listen to Diane Maltester with the Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra, directed by David Ramadanoff.